2018 Soccer World Cup factbox: Group E

2018-06-04 08:35
Neymar and Roberto Firmino (Supplied)

Cape Town - All the need-to-know facts on the international teams vying for glory in Group E at the 2018 Soccer World Cup in Russia.

SWC factbox: Group A

SWC factbox: Group B

SWC factbox: Group C

SWC factbox: Group D

SWC factbox: Group E

SWC factbox: Group F

SWC factbox: Group G

SWC factbox: Group H

BRAZIL

Honours: World Cup winners 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002; Eight-times winners of Copa America; Four-times winners of Confederations Cup; Olympic Gold 2016

FIFA ranking: 2nd.

Main clubs: Flamengo, Corinthians, Santos, Sao Paulo, Gremio, Cruzeiro, Internacional, Palmeiras, Vasco, Fluminense, Atletico Mineiro.

How they qualified: Finished top in South American qualifying, 10 points ahead of Uruguay.

Friendly matches scheduled before World Cup: June 10 v Austria (Vienna)

23-man World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma/ITA), Ederson (Manchester City/ENG), Cassio (Corinthians)

Defenders: Danilo (Manchester City/ENG), Fagner (Corinthians), Marcelo (Real Madrid/ESP), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Miranda (Inter Milan/ITA), Marquinhos (Paris SG/FRA), Thiago Silva (Paris SG/FRA), Geromel (Gremio)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid/ESP), Fernandinho (Manchester City/ENG), Paulinho (Barcelona/ESP), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan/CHN), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona/ESP), Willian (Chelsea/ENG)

Forwards: Neymar (Paris SG/FRA), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City/ENG), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool/ENG), Douglas Costa (Juventus/ITA), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR)

COSTA RICA

Honours: CONCACAF Championship/Gold Cup winners 1963, 1969, 1989

Past World Cup performance: Fifth participation.

Best result: quarter-finalists in 2014

FIFA ranking: 25th

Main clubs: Saprissa, Alajuelense

Nickname: Los Ticos

How they qualified: They finished second behind Mexico in CONCACAF final round of qualifying.

Friendly matches scheduled before the World Cup: June 7: v England (Leeds); June 11 v Belgium (Brussels)

23-man World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid/ESP), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Leonel Moreira (Herediano)

Defenders: Cristian Gamboa (Celtic/SCO), Ian Smith (Norrkoping/SWE), Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC/USA), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland/ENG), Oscar Duarte (Espanyol/ESP), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Bologna/ITA), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United/USA), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps/USA), Johnny Acosta (Rionegro guilas/COL).

Midfielders: David Guzman (Portland Timbers/USA), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne/SUI), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna/ESP), Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Rodney Wallace (New York City FC/USA), Cristian Bolanos (Saprissa) Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon/POR).

Forwards: Daniel Colindres (Saprissa), Joel Campbell (Real Betis/ESP), Johan Venegas (Saprissa), Marco Urena (Los Angeles FC/USA)

Star player: Keylor Navas

His outstanding displays at the 2014 World Cup, including a man-of-the-match performance in the last 16 win against Greece, helped Costa Rica to the quarter-finals, a superb effort from such a modest nation.

On the back of that, Navas moved from Levante to Real Madrid, where he has shown criticism of him to be unfair and has starred in a team that has just won a third consecutive Champions League crown.

Navas started at Deportivo Saprissa, one of Costa Rica's leading sides, before first moving to Spain with Albacete in 2010.

Coach: Oscar Ramirez

The 53-year-old is the first Costa Rican to take charge of the national team into a World Cup, having previously played for Los Ticos at the 1990 finals in Italy.

Ramirez has enjoyed success as a coach at Alajuelense, where he also played. He initially became assistant coach to Paulo Wanchope with the national team in 2015, but just a week later he was appointed coach outright after the former English Premier League forward became involved in a brawl after a game against Panama and duly resigned.

SERBIA

Honours: Gold medal at the 1960 Olympics

Past World Cup performance: 12th participation, including nine as Yugoslavia, one as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (composed of Serbia and Montenegro) in 1998 and one as Serbia and Montenegro in 2006. Participation under the flag of Serbia in 2010

Best result: Fourth in 1930 and 1962

FIFA world ranking: 35

Main clubs: Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade

Nickname: "Orlovi" ("The Eagles")

How they qualified: Finished top of UEFA qualifying group D

Friendly matches scheduled before the World Cup: June 9 v Bolivia (Gratz)

Provisional World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (FK Partizan Belgrade), Predrag Rajkovic (Maccabi Tel Aviv/ISR), Aleksandar Jovanovic (AGF/DEN), Marko Dmitrovic (Eibar/ESP)

Defenders: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma/ITA), Antonio Rukavina (Villarreal/ESP), Milan Rodic (Red Star Belgrade), Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit Saint Petersburg/RUS), Uros Spajic (Anderlecht/BEL), Milos Veljkovic (Werder Bremen/GER), Dusko Tosic (Besiktas/TUR), Matija Nastasic (Schalke 04/GER), Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina/ITA)

Midfielders: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United/ENG), Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace/ENG), Marko Grujic (Cardiff City/WAL), Nemanja Maksimovic (Valencia/ESP), Dusan Tadic (Southampton/ENG), Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica/POR), Mijat Gacinovic (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Filip Kostic (Hamburg/GER), Nemanja Radonjic (Red Star Belgrade), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio/ITA), Adem Ljajic (Torino/ITA)

Forwards: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham/ENG), Aleksandar Prijovic (PAOK Thessaloniki/GRE), Luka Jovic (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER)

Coach: Mladen Krstajic

The former central defender was appointed in October 2017 to replace Slavoljub Muslin, making his debut as an international coach. Muslin was the first coach of a country qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia to lose his job. According to local media reports he paid the price for failing to bring in new players, including Sergej Milinkovi-Savic, a rising star for Lazio in Italy's Serie A.

Krstajic was Muslin's deputy and said he intended to carry on where the former coach left off, while "adding a few ideas of my own" and "creating a mix of youth and experience."

Born in Zenica, Krsajic began his playing career at local club Celik, rising to become a Serbian international and playing in Germany for Werder Bremen (2000-2004) and Schalke 04 (2004-2009).

After losing 2-1 to Morocco in a friendly in March, the debutant coach was harshly criticised but the attacks eased following a 2-0 win against Nigeria four days later, leading him to say that the squad were "on the right track" ahead of their first World Cup tie in against Costa Rica on June 17.

SWITZERLAND

Honours: None

Past World Cup performance: 11th participation.

Best result: Quarter-finals in 1934, 1938 and 1954

FIFA ranking: Sixth

Main clubs: Basel, Young Boys, FC Zurich

Nickname: Schweizer Nati (German), La Nati (French), Squadra Nazionale (Italian)

How they qualified: Finished second behind Portugal in their group, defeated Northern Ireland 1-0 in the play-offs

Friendly matches scheduled before the World Cup: June 8 v Japan (Lugano)

Provisional World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER), Roman Burki (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Yvon Mvogo (RB Leipzig/GER), Gregor Kobel (Hoffenheim/GER)

Defenders: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus/ITA), Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor/TUR), Ricardo Rodriguez (AC Milan/ITA), Fabian Schaer (Deportivo La Coruna/ESP), Michael Lang (Basel), Francois Moubandje (Toulouse/FRA), Silvan Widmer (Udinese/ITA), Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER)

Midfielders: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal/ENG), Valon Behrami (Udinese/ITA), Blerim Dzemaili (Bologna/ITA), Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Steven Zuber (Hoffenheim/GER), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City/ENG), Remo Freuler (Atalanta/ITA), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER), Edimilson Fernandes (West Ham/ENG)

Forwards: Breel Embolo (Schalke/GER), Haris Seferovic (Benfica/POR), Josip Drmic (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb/CRO)

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